So, my leg hurts, and it's not getting better. What do I do?
There are a few ways to go here. The first option is what I've been doing so far, which is my usual routine of running through the pain until it goes away. It's a terrible idea, yes, but it's what I've always done, mostly because I'm too lazy or two scared to actually see a doctor about anything. In general, I look up my symptoms online and determine my best and worst case scenarios. I treat myself for whatever I can, and thus far, it's worked on most issues.
It has not worked on this.
The second choice for me is the obvious one of resting whatever it is that is hurting, and hoping that it has simply been overused. My usual failure here is that it gets me out of my routine and the whole training mission goes by the wayside.
After that comes option 3, which is to see some sort of medical professional. This is what I put off as much as possible, not because I'm smart (quite the opposite), but because of my aforementioned laziness and/or fear. In addition, those visits get expensive quickly, and I worry about simply being told to try some things I could have done on my own.
So, I am currently in the "rest" phase of this progression, and a day or two is obviously not enough. Thus, I have taken the (relatively) drastic step of putting myself on one week's rest. From what research I've done online, I find that there are a few possibilities for what I've got, and that the most likely culprit is shin splints. Unpleasant, but manageable, with rest.
You see, the two things that seem to fit my issues most nearly are shin splints and a stress fracture. If it were a stress fracture, though, it would likely hurt all the time, and not simply several miles into a run.
In short, my choice for right now is to force myself to rest this week. I've got a couple other reasons why I feel this is a great idea, not the least of which is that I am in production for one show and starting rehearsal for another. Overall, I'll get to rest not only my leg, but my entire body, and, if all goes according to plan, I'll be itching to get back out there at the beginning of next week. My plan is to start back up again next Monday.
In the meantime, I'm reading up in my new Runner's World subscription and hoping to get some good ideas on training. I might do a bit of cross-training, but only if I'm actually feeling great.
If, in one week, my leg does not feel better on a shorter run, I'll have to go and see some sort of medical professional. I've recently been advised that a chiropractor might be a better first choice than an orthopedist, but I'll cross that bridge when necessary.
Stay tuned. This could get interesting.